Operational Leadership

Operational leadership is one of our favourite leadership lenses because the roots of our leadership journey extend deep into the soil of operations. This post is dedicated to operational leaders!

Below is our take on operational leadership

1. Operational leaders appreciate the big picture of strategy but love the fine art of the small print.

2. Operational leaders focus on effectiveness and efficiency and what it takes to scale in a quality assured way.

3. Operational leaders understand that effectiveness and efficiency is all about people, process and systems, in that order and know how to get the best of them individually and collectively.

4. For operational leaders process is a thing of beauty.

5. Operational leaders understand systems make good servants but bad masters.

6. Operational leaders know that as beautiful the process, as serving as the system, it is people that make the greatest difference.

7. Operational leaders are therefore good people leaders. They don't just count the golden eggs, they know how to look after and lead the golden geese, paying attention to their hearts and their minds, spirits, souls and bodies!

8. Operational leaders know you cannot manage what you cannot see, so they make management information a priority recognising there is a vast difference between data and information.

9. As much as they love process and systems operational leaders manage to outcomes not tick boxes. However mouth watering the recipe, the proof is in the pudding.

10. Operational leaders understand complexity is a killer and spend a lot of their time and energy making things simple. They are masters of simplification and skilled in the use of the machete to cut through the chaos of complexity.

11. Whilst operational leaders love organisation they understand alignment is far more powerful than organisational structure recognising alignment is all to do with hearts and heads and nothing to do with PowerPoint charts.

12. Great operational leaders are relatively masterful jacks of all trades making them servant-hearted, authentic, inspirational and strategic.

Mark Lawrence is a leadership and culture consultant